More and more of us have to face the prospect of helping a family member or family friend who is getting older and needs assistance or elder care. There may be assistance available to assist in handling both the emotional and financial burden of providing care to an elderly loved one. While not all of these options will be available to everyone, I suggest exploring these alternatives and reviewing applicable tax breaks to see if any of these options fit your specific situation:
- In Wisconsin, the Community Options Program (COP) is available for persons with limited income who need help with daily living. The purpose of the COP program is to give older people and persons with disabilities the choice of remaining in their homes instead of going to nursing homes or other institutions. Each person participates in deciding which services best suit his or her needs. Waiting lists exist in many counties. To learn more, contact your County or Tribal Aging Unit or county social or human services agencies.
- Veterans can enroll in the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-based Services Program. This program provides funds to allow veterans to remain in his or her own living environment, with the assistance of his or her spouse or family members, as well as paid in-home care. To be eligible for this program, the veteran must need assistance with daily living activities, including bathing, eating, dressing and going to the bathroom. There are also significant income restrictions which impact the availability of this program.
- If you pay more than half of your elderly relative’s expenses and his or her gross income is less than $3,950.00 in 2014 excluding social security benefits, you may be able to claim that person as a dependent on your taxes. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information and/or contact your accountant for additional information.
- Visit www.Benefits.Checkup.org. This website assists low-income seniors in the identification of state and private programs that can help with elderly care issues and benefits.
- The National Council on Aging is a leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them.
For additional information, contact Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. at 1-800-805-1976 or 262-250-1976.